Online secondary education social studies degrees are designed for students who want to become social studies teachers in middle schools and high schools. Students in these programs, once they complete core course requirements, will strongly focus on both social studies and education courses.
Students who become certified by their state to teach secondary social studies typically will take a variety of upper level courses in history, geography, social sciences, political science, and economics. They will also take education courses in curriculum development, educational psychology, education technology, and teaching social studies. Depending on state guidelines and the size of the school one teaches at, a secondary social studies teacher could be teaching one subject year-round, such as world history, or could be teaching several courses, such as world geography and U.S. government, so it is essential for secondary social studies education students to become familiar with several social studies topics.
To teach in public schools, many states require state-specific certification, the standards of which vary by state. In many states, certification requires not only a college degree but also proven competency, through tests, in social studies concepts as well as best practices in teaching. States will typically also require a certain number of hours of classroom observation and student teaching, some of which may be able to be completed by monitoring virtual classrooms, but most of which will have to be completed in-person. Because most colleges and universities offer programs that provide certifications within their own states, it is important for students to consider the state they want to teach in and the state they should pursue their degree in.
Social studies education graduates are well-equipped for careers not only within the classroom but outside of the classroom and education in general. They can become social studies curriculum coordinators or department heads at their school or school district, or can pursue careers outside of education in research, non-profit organizations, or museum management.